Welcome to the Journey!

Date: Tuesday 17 November, 2020

This is the opening note in a symphony of posts chronicling art throughout human history. The series showcases the impact of contemporaneous belief systems on myths through art and storytelling around the world. Tens of thousands of years ago, modern humans may have felt lonely in a sparsely inhabited world as we gazed upon thousands of unreachable lights in the night sky. We live in a vastly different world today with a better comprehension of the universe surrounding us – and our current myths no longer reflect our understanding of the world we live in.

Art and storytelling – as well as their interpretations – anchor our human story in time and space. A sketch made in the 1920s of 13,000-year-old parietal art in present-day France named The Sorcerer still sparks controversy. 10,000-year-old petroglyphs in present-day Mongolia resemble the script of ancient Xiongnu steppe nomads purported to be the founding population of several Eurasian cultures. Even the naming of Venus figurines, anatomically female statuettes with accentuated vulvae, breasts and buttocks covering a profound expanse of Pre-Indo European lands dating back to the Paleolithic, continues to draw a fair amount of strong criticism today.

As the dream of touching the soil of new worlds inches closer toward dawn, the importance of recording our stories – and developing new ones – grows stronger. We began our journey on Mother Earth, Magna Mater, Mati Syra Zemlya, Jörð, Dʰéǵʰōm, and countless other names known or lost forever. These stories serve to sustain our humanity as we venture forth among the stars.

The crescendo is building toward the discovery of whether we were ever truly alone as our ancestors may have felt thousands of years ago. We hope you will enjoy this inspiring journey as much as we do.

Critics of Henri Breuil’s illustration of The Sorcerer believe the original 13,000-year-old artwork does not possess antlers, and that the addition of such to his sketch may have been a result of poor lighting inside the cave. Additionally, a prominent single human figure is an extremely rare find in parietal art which normally features multiples of non-human animals:

“The ‘sorcerer’ from the Les Trois-Frères cave whose body, which has human limbs, possesses the face of an owl, the tail of a horse, and the antlers of a reindeer, has contributed by its strangeness to the generalized image of the sorcerer rigged up in animal skins. On the other hand, it would seem that the horned being constitutes a very rare theme (apart from two other small engravings which are part of the same group of figures) and is to be seen only at Le Gabillou (with the head and tail of a bison) and on a plaque from Lourdes (with deer antlers and a fluttering tail).”
~ Andrè Leroi-Gourhan, “The Dawn of European Art.” Cambridge University Press, 1981.

 

 

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